It’s pretty easy to be eco when planning travel as long as you plan with being green in mind. Opt to book a nonstop flight whenever possible, because takeoffs and landings create the most carbon emissions; or use a site like Green Hotels to find hotels that consciously save water, energy and reduce solid waste. (Not sure if your preferred hotel is environmentally conscious? You can call to ask about their policy towards washing linens, installing energy-efficient lighting or low flow toilets and providing food from local vendors.)
Plan to pack useful, reusable items in your carry-on, such as collapsible water bottles (a must for a long flight), snack bags and cloth bags you can use for dirty laundry or shopping.(If you know you’ll be eating on the go frequently, bring along reusable utensils to cut down on the plastic cutlery you’d need.)
If you’re in the habit of buying cute travel-sized toiletries you can toss after your trip, consider trying shampoo and soap bars, or small refillable containers you can use for beauty products, like face wash and eco-friendly sunscreen.
Once at the hotel, keeping things green is easy. Turning the lights off when you leave your room and reducing your use of towels are obvious ones, but you can also leave the “do not disturb” sign on your door to cut down on the amount your sheets get changed and your room is cleaned.
You can return any maps or brochures you’ve gotten from the hotel so other guests can use them and you can also take any leftover soap or shampoo because they will most likely get thrown away after your stay.
Whenever possible, take public transportation or explore your destination by bike; It not only curbs emissions but it also gives a better sense of the place you’re exploring. If you plan on renting a car, ask for a hybrid or an electric vehicle, and map your trip ahead of time if you won’t have cell service; it will cut down on unnecessary detours.
You wouldn’t litter in your hometown, so treat anywhere you land witih the same respect; if you’re in a location without lots of public trash receptacles, carry your trash with you until you can dispose of it properly. (Many people pack a bag for this purpose.) Seek out souvenirs that are made locally and responsibly, and buy only what you’ll really enjoy when you get home.
If you’ll be hiking on your trip, stick to the marked path; they’re designated to help protect wildlife and minimize environmental damage (plus, it helps prevent selfie-related disaster). Same goes for any underwater activity, like snorkeling or scuba diving. Avoid touching fish or coral so you don’t accidently disrupt or destroy their habitat. You can still have an amazing experience just by observing the incredible ecosystem land and the ocean has to offer.
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